When the man you're falling for tells you that he’s about to die you don’t really know how to react. Vigor told me he was in love with me. I didn’t say it back. I didn’t want it to seem like I was only saying it back because he said it, or even worse because his crazy ex boyfriend infected him with the DAMS virus. So instead of doing all that I just spend time with him. He lets me sleep in his room for days and I cuddle up close to him, feeling his warm chest.
“Do you mind me being here?” I ask, “I don’t want to be a distraction.”
Vigor smiles. I rarely see him smile as much as he’s smiled these last couple days. It’s a strange experience when his mouth curls and his white teeth flash. He pulls me closer to him on the bed as though letting his actions show that he wouldn’t rather me anywhere else.
“I can’t get shit done with you around. Your mad annoyiong. Like a big ass baby,” he tells me sighing before adding, “I like that shit though.”
“Icebox will freeze my balls off for pulling you away from the cause.”
“They think I’m healing from those bullet wounds…so I got an excuse to lay in and do this all day.”
He leans in at that moment and kisses me. He’s aggressive this time. He looks like he’s about to climb on top of me and probably have sex again. We’ve been fucking all day like only Vicious Vigor can. I know that he can last hours if he was in perfect condition. Right now though he stops himself short and stops. I look down and notice Vigor’s dick is hard but he’s breathing a little heavy. I want to ask him what’s wrong but I think he’d punch me with a stiff arm if I did. He says that he has the DAMs virus under control for now but every now and then I feel him have a shortness in his breath. Like now. I’d like to think my kiss took his breath away but we both know what it really is.
“Do the others know?” I ask him.
I don’t know what day it is. It has to be a Sunday. I don’t know. I don’t care. A part of me wants to shut out the world. I want to shut out the Division of Disaster. I want to shut out of the Hall of Heroes. I want to shut out the Mandate Ministry. I don’t give a fuck about what’s going on in Metropolis. I just want to be with him. I spent so long do just that as well. Today is different. Vigor showing signs of being human was bad. He’d always been the picture of health and power. Now he was laying on the side of the bed struggling to breathe.
“Know what? Know how I put it down in the bed?” he asks, “Naw…that’s just you.”
“Vigor for real. Do they know you are infected?”
He seems reluctant to talk to me about this. I know he just doesn’t want to sound weak, “No baby, not all of them. Fem knows. Icebox knows. Those are the only ones that need to know for now. The others need to think I’m strong.”
My heart flutters like a little school girl when he calls me baby. When we are in the room when it’s just us he does it often. He lays his head on my lap and lets his breathing ease a little bit. It takes a few minutes for his breathing to get back to normal. I’m looking down at this sexy titan and for the first time I’m beginning to realize that I am going to lose him now that I just got him.
“You are strong.”
“That’s not what I mean. Strong isn’t enough. Invincible is necessary. I made a promise to everyone that I was going to lead them. They look up to me. I have to put on that front that I’m just as good as Mayor Morals. You know how people are scared of him. I had to let them know that I was someone to be feared as well.”
I understood what Vigor was talking about. I wasn’t even in the Division when I heard about Mayor Morals. His reputation for being a cutthroat hero was all around Metropolis. He wasn’t the type of hero to tie up the bad guys. He was the type of hero to rip their heads off as a warning to every other motherfucker that he ran this town. Little did I know that he was just a puppet now. Philip Leaf was the one who really ran this town.
I don’t want to talk about it but I have to bring it up, “How long do you have?”
“Can’t tell. My powers help. They keep changing up my cells covering up the virus. I just want to last until we stop Leaf.”
“And then what. You’re just ready to die?” I ask.
He laughs, “Can we not talk about this?”
“I think we have to talk about it. We’ve been in this room for days and haven’t brought it up,” I explain.
He laughs, “Man…”
“Man what?” I ask raising an eyebrow and wanting to lay right into Vigor.
“Nothing it’s kind of nice having a nagging boyfriend…”
“Wait…I’m your boyfriend? Vigor…Vigor!”
Vigor’s passed out on my lap. At first I think he’s pretending to be asleep but then I hear his light snoring and realize this man just literally fell asleep on my lap. I watch him for a few minutes. I study his face. I study how his mouth is slightly open against my thigh and I can feel his warm breath. I like it. I like spending time with Vigor. I like feeling this feeling that I am now.
And I realize at that moment.
I’m not going to let Vigor die.
I leave Vigor when he’s asleep and pace around trying to figure out what I can do. I don’t have a plan but I know I have to do something. I have to save the humans but I also had to save Vigor. There is so much stress on my shoulders all of a sudden.
Fem Fatale is sitting is in the barracks. I’m glad that she’s alone. She’s practicing her shooting practice as if she ever misses. I walk up to her and stand there for a few seconds making sure that Ghost or the Thinkers aren’t around.
“So the turtle comes out of his shell,” Fem smiles.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why the fuck didn’t you tell me about Vigor?” I ask her.
Her smile fades at that moment. She stares at her target and unleashes a few clips. Two shots hit the target paper dead on and the third shot is right in the middle of the head.
“You know how Vigor is. He didn’t want to look weak. He wanted to tell you on his own time. I didn’t want to catch a stone fist to my jaw. Icebox really likes this jaw…”
I cross my arms, “You and Icebox?”
She smiles, “Yeah. Yeah I’m handing in my hoe card. You and Vigor influenced me to do it,” she adds as though it makes me feel better.
“I can’t let him die Fem.”
“There’s some things we can’t control,” Fem tells me, “Vigor wants us to focus on stopping Leaf’s plan. So lets do that. Let’s save the world. I think that’s the best thing you can do for him right now.”
“The best thing I can do for him is not let him die.”
She sighs a little, “Look, if there was a way to save Vigor I’d do it.”
“What if there was a way?”
I hesitate for a minute and then a thought pops into my head, “The registration.”
I think back remembering what I saw back at the Hall of Heroes.
“Listen. When Leaf showed me Mind Meld. Mind Meld was looking at a screen. He needs to know people’s limits in order to control them. What if we had access to that screen?”
“I’m not following you.”
“A healer, Fem. What if someone was a healer?” I ask.
She raises an eyebrow, “How would we even get close to Mind Meld’s device?”
“I don’t know…”
“Even if we find a healer, which we probably won’t, who the fuck is going to heal Vicious Vigor? For godsakes. No one even likes him but our crazy asses…”
I was cornered. A part of me is pissed off that Fem is just giving up on Vigor living. She’s following his lead. Vigor has given up on himself and she’s coming to terms with him dying. I don’t know why I collapse on the floor like this at that moment. I collapse in tears. This man literally went through hell to save me.
“I can’t let him die Fem,” I explain to her, “I’m in love with him.”
She studies my face. I know why. I’m crying again. Tears were something that the Villains weren’t really used to. She’s looking at me for a moment and I think she doesn’t know how to react to me. She sits beside me. She puts her hand on my head and allows me to cry. It’s unexpected to see Fem Fatale here being a friend to me.
“He loves you too,” Fem Fatale stated, “You make him more human. You know that? It’s nice to see Vigor human. And I’ll never know how to thank you enough for making him human. If there is a way to save Vigor. I’ll help you. No matter what. Because you found a human under all that steel tough skin. But you know the thing about being human? Humans die.”
I let the idea sink into my mind as Fem Fatale strokes my head allowing me to be weak in front of her since I wanted to be strong for Vigor.
Later that night music plays on the speakers. Something has happened. When we all gather in the war room a screen is pulled down. Vigor is there. You would think he was in perfect condition how he’s standing. They don’t notice the fact that is slouching on the chair a little bit more than usual. They wouldn’t see that. The other Villains pile in the room. Vigor shoots me a strong stare. He doesn’t smile at me in public but I know that he wants to. He probably wants to walk over to me and kiss me right now. I know that he won’t and it’s kind of sexy. Instead he just gives me a hard nod.
“What’s up boss?” Ghost asks.
The Villains gather around. A part of me thinks he’s going to tell everyone about the Virus but I’m wrong. I am sitting next to Scanman. I want to tell him all my problems but I know Vigor wouldn’t want me to. Luckily I feel Fem Fatale’s hand on my right shoulder. She squeezes it letting me know that everything is going to be ok.
“We have news…” Vigor says.
He switches on the monitors. All the news channels are covering the same thing. There seems to be a parade of people walking down the streets.
Icebox looks at the screen, “What the fuck? Is that the million man march or something.”
“More like the million Meta march,” Vigor answers.
I know what he’s referring to right when I hear the newscaster appear, “In a strange occurrence it seems as though metahumans from all around Metropolis are gathering downtown. They have a sort of zombie-like quality to them. After the terrorist attack of Holy Wing’s commemoration, sources at the Mandate Ministry suspect that this strange march may be the work of Super Villain Vicious Vigor and his terrorist group Division of Disaster.”
Just at that moment it becomes clear. Mind Meld has begun to control the registered metahumans all around the city.
“It’s begun,” Vigor lets us know.
“They are blaming it on us,” Ghost replies.
“Did you think they wouldn’t?” Icebox asks, “All humans are the same. Dumb and mindless. They literally helped register Metahumans. They are literally helping Philip Leaf kill them. It’s kind of funny how they are just watching it like this is going to be some peaceful protest. Little do they know they are about to get murked.”
He laughs. He’s joined by Fem Fatale, Ghost, Madame Motions, the Thinkers and even Scanman. I can’t stand it. People are gathered around watching the march of the metahumans with interested faces. Some people are cheering. Others look scared. None of them are running. None of them are hiding. They are sheep being lead to the slaughter.
I roll my eyes, “This isn’t a laughing matter.”
Vigor backs me up almost immediately, “Materias is right. Ashley Keeper is addressing the nation this evening. I can only imagine that is when Philip is going to drop the wall…”
“How?” I ask.
“He’s probably going to have whichever metahuman created the wall to take it down. Then the metahumans attack,” Scanman acknowledges.
“We’ll need to find Mind Meld before then,” Vigor nods, “Before tonight.’
“At the Hall of Heroes?” Fem asks.
The faces of the Villains all of a sudden don’t look as certain of themselves. It’s more than that. They are straight up scared. The Thinkers are whispering between one another.
“Vigor…that’s suicide. After you broke in they definitely intensified their defenses,” Scanman states the obvious, “Right now more than ever they are protecting Mind Meld.”
“I know…” Vigor explains.
Fem shakes her head, “We won’t get out of there alive.”
“You’re asking us to risk our lives to save humans who hate us,” Iceman adds.
Vigor nods, “Yes I am.”
The Thinkers look at one another and in unison let out a “Fuck.”
We look over at Vigor. He stands at that moment. You would never think that Vicious Vigor would be the type to be a hero. Right now though, that’s what I feel like watching him stand tall. Vigor is dying inside but on the outside he looks braver than Mayor Morals. He looks better. My heart is racing almost brought to tears at how powerful and confident he looks.
Vigor shakes his head, “From now on we are not the Division of the Disaster. From this day forward we are the Division of Destiny. We aren’t some heinous super villains. I don’t care what they say about us on the news. I don’t care how history remembers us. Ashley Keeper is going to go on the news and he’s going to calm people down. He’s going to tell them they are safe and he’s going to lead them to their deaths. I am going to get dressed. I am going to go out there and beat Philip Leaf’s motherfucking ass. I’m leaving out of here in an hour. If any of you want to go beat Philip Leaf’s ass with me, then meet me there.”
Vigor leaves it at that. The room doesn’t seem to react the way that I expect. The idea that he is saying that we are no longer Villains isn’t something that I think anyone wants to hear. I see Icebox grimace and stare at Fem Fatale. I can only imagine what they are thinking. The Thinkers are silent for once and not whispering amongst one another. Ghost and Madame Motions are looking extremely annoyed by the situation. Scanman just looks…scared.
Vigor doesn’t wait to address their concerns. He storms out of the room leaving nothing but silence. I know the heaviness in his footsteps. Yeah. I was definitely in love with this man.
“No one here yet?”
We are in the garage on the main floor of the lair. Vigor is standing there like a Roman Statue. He doesn’t lean over. He doesn’t struggle. He’s looking out towards the door ready to leave if no one else shows up.
“I don’t think they are going to come,” he states.
“Why not? I’m here.”
He laughs, “I figured you were going to make it. It’s almost an hour. I don’t blame them if they don’t come though. Why save a world that demonizes them?”
“They seemed all for it earlier,” I explained.
He shrugs, “It’s a little different when the plan is an impossible one.”
“I’ve done impossible thing before. I ain’t worried.”
Vigor takes a couple steps towards me, “You getting cocky aren’t you. What exactly did you do that was so impossible Materias?”
I shrug, “I won you over.”
He laughs, “Yeah. That definitely is a lot. Saving the world won’t be nothing if you could make me fall for you.”
I don’t even realize that Vigor is holding my hand. His hands fit so perfectly in mine. He keeps me close at that moment grabbing me and pulling me tightly. He continues to hold me as the moments pass and as the moments pass I’m beginning to realize that the Villains may not be willing to be heroes. I look over at the elevator every moment that passes. If it’s just Vigor and I this thing will be even more impossible.
The hour has passed. No one has showed up.
“Dammit. I could have sworn your speech would have made them come.”
“They didn’t come when I told them I was coming to rescue you,” he lets me know, “I don’t blame them. That’s the thing about Villains. They don’t want to do something unless there is a profit. Remember how I met you? You were robbing a Mandate building. . Look at you now. Shit. I might as well get you a cape. All heroic and shit…”
“Division of Destiny huh?” I ask him.
He laughs a little bit, “You like the name. Figured if we were going to save the world we needed a more heroic name.”
“Maybe they’ll put it on your tombstone.”
He sighs a little bit.
“That reminds me. I don’t want you to come.”
Vigor looks at me hard, “Listen. I’m going to die anyway. I don’t want you to come with me.”
“You think you going to take on the entire Hall of Heroes yourself?” I ask him, “You think I’ll let you do that?”
Vigor is hesitating.
“I asked the others. With you. It’s…different.”
“Because you love me?”
“YES!” Vigor says giving me a kiss.
The kiss is hard. It’s a strong kiss and I’m reminded just how invincible Vicious Vigor once was. He damn near sweeps me off his feet with his kiss. His tongue goes in my mouth and he tastes me. He licks into my mouth and swaps spit with me. His strong arms secure my neck as he holds me upright. I’m blown away by this kiss. Every moment I’m falling deeper and deeper into him.
When it’s done I realize that he meant this kiss as a good bye.
He makes a turn and I see him starting to walk away at that moment to a car in the garage. It’s the first time I noticed the car. The car is black and low to the ground with tinted windows. It has the build of a Camaro but seems to have all these advanced add ons that I’ve never seen on a regular car. The more I look at it I realize that this thing looks like the bat mobile.
As soon as he gets in the car, I jump into the passenger seat.
“If your Batman, then I’m Robin,” I respond.
“Batman and Robin didn’t fuck,” he laughs looking at me sitting in the passenger seat.
“You don’t know that,” I respond before adding in a quick, “Let’s ride.”
Vigor is struggling with this. I know why. He doesn’t think we are going to survive this. He looks pretty sure that we aren’t going to survive this. The look on his face seems to say it all.
“Seriously baby,” he tells me holding onto my hand at that moment, “I’m not trying to bring you with me. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” I respond shaking my head, “I know you’re a leader and I listen to your orders, but that’s one order that gets a big ‘fuck outta here’. I’m not going back in that building yo. You know how hard it is to find a good man nowadays.”
He shakes his head, “You stubborn as fuck aren’t you.”
“Yup. Sure am.”
“Well buckle the fuck up.”
He looks irritated, annoyed and hopelessly in love when he helps me put on my seatbelt like I’m a 3 year old child. I don’t mind though. I don’t care if I’m crossing into the depths of hell with Vigor. Honestly I feel like there is no place else than I’d rather be than right by his side. There is no where else that I felt as safe.
The streets of Metropolis are dripping with people. Vigor is speeding through the streets and I look through the tinted windows and realize the march of metahumans. Hundreds of metahumans can be seen from the bridge we are crossing as we head over to the hall of heroes. They are walking like cold zombies being led by someone. It scares me thinking about all the devastating powers each one of these metahumans possess. I mean one metahuman was capable of taking out the leader of the free world. There was no telling what an army of metahumans was capable of.
“What’s this button do?” I ask.
I can’t help myself. This fucking car is a gadget machine.
Vigor slaps my hand away, “Can you not blow us up? That’s the self destruct button.”
“Gadget Girl build you this thing?”
“Before she died. It was almost complete. I finished it on my own,” he explains at that moment, “Figure I don’t have much time.”
“Can you stop talking like that?
It’s hard to hear him giving up on living. It’s hard to know that the man that I can’t be without now is the same exact man ready to give up on me completely. My heart is thumping in my chest just thinking about Vigor dying.
“Listen. It’s all yours when I leave.”
“I don’t have any family. You are the only person I’ve let really close to me in years,” he explains, “I’m leaving you the lair when this is over.”
“Can you STOP talking like that?”
He laughs. It’s almost like he enjoys making me emotional about this.
“There’s something else that I want you to have. Dig in my right pocket.”
I move over the driver’s seat of the vehicle and put my hand in Vigor’s right pocket. He’s swerving through traffic like a fucking maniac so I am assuming he doesn’t want to take his eyes off the road to do it himself. As I dig through his right pocket I see a little square box.
“Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god…” I say at that moment.
“Relax I’m not proposing to you.”
My face reddens with embarrassment and Vigor gives me a look that makes me even more embarrassed. It’s one of those looks that just says “what the fuck is wrong with you?”
I open the box at that moment and see red stone. It’s purely cut. The crystal figure seems big enough to fit in my palm. The rock is attached to a thing golden chain necklace, thin yet sturdy when I give it a slight tug. It sparkles collecting light where there is none.
“What is it?”
“Red Beryl. It’s one of the most rare gems in the world.”
“How’d you find it?”
“I was researching the source of the gift a few years back. I was researching how it was the gift appeared in the sky that gave us all of our powers. I came across this stone. Never did figure out what the fuck the connection was. But you know what----it’s beautiful. Figured I would make a chain for you and let you have it. It’s a reminder that the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten wasn’t my ability to control my density. The greatest gift I ever got is you.”
“Yo you really want me to cry don’t you man?”
He laughs, “Oh geez. Let’s put on the television. Ashley should be talking right about now.”
“Not the best time to talk about your ex. You know how to ruin a moment,” I tease Vigor.
You would think we weren’t going on a damn suicide mission when Vigor opens up a screen on the dashboard. He hits a button and the television lights up. I look at the screen to see Ashley Keeper there. I hate the man so much. He’s the man that made Vigor sick. He’s the man that had Vigor before me. His twisted little face has gathered at a conference. Right next to him I see his husband, Philip Leaf. The two of them are standing there ready to address the world.
Ashley speaks into the microphone first, “I wanted to thank you all for gathering here today. I know that many of you are concerned about the gathering of metahumans in downtown Metropolis. I have come here in order to confirm that this is the work of the terrorist group Division of Disaster lead by Vicious Vigor.”
“Your ex knows how to get the crowd scared huh?” I ask Vigor.
Vigor sighs deeply. He’s going back into Vigor mode. He must notice how the crowd looks afraid though. I can’t help but to notice Philip Leaf with a slight grimace next to Ashley Keeper. He can’t even keep a straight fucking face as his plan unfolds.
That’s when Ashley Keeper says something unexpected, “---however…instead I am here to confirm that is a lie. Vicious Vigor is not to blame for the metahumans gathering. The person who is to blame for the metahumans gathering is my husband. Philip Leaf. He’s also a metahuman planning on destroying the world with his army of----“
Just at that moment Philip Leaf walks behind his husband and snaps his neck in front of everyone.
Vigor and I stare at each other in the car. That…did…not…just…happen.
As soon as he snaps Ashley’s neck the Mandate Ministry soldiers turn their guns on Leaf. Leaf is too fast for them however. He transforms himself into Holy Wings and takes to the air like a bullet flapping out of the conference room followed by bullets.
Ashley Keeper was a man scorned who used his last moments on this planet to reveal just who the real Philip Leaf was.
“This is good,” I turn to Vigor, “Oh my god. This is good.”
Vigor looks over at me at that moment. He doesn’t seem convinced, “I’m not so sure. Before we had just a maniac to deal with. Now…Philip Leaf is a desperate maniac…with nothing to lose.”
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